Some highlights from
-Informal live flamenco in
-Speaking of visitors, my friend had 2 cousins visiting from an anonymous Euro country. These nice, young, ignorant people did not appreciate flamenco, nor anything else about
-sunsets from anywhere between the
-partying with NYU undergrads who’d just finished summer courses in
-police presence. Lowpoint. In order to enfore the infamous botellon law, the Madrid cops (just like those here in Barcelona), are out in force, roving bands of 4 or 8, and rather funny-looking in their neon yellow “pedestrian friendly” shirts. The civilian police are around just to make sure everything is chill, and that groups of people are not drinking in public areas. People chat with them and vice versa—they are not intimidating (on the contrary, the few I talked to were quite charming—probably because they appreciate being on what I’d call the “chaperone shift”. Their job is to ruin what used to be a good vibe. When we used to hang out in Plaza 2 de Mayo, the center of Malasana, we’d do so with litros in hand… others would be smoking joints. Same deal at the Rastro. These days it’s harder to find this (though it remains an ingrained part of youth culture) because the police drive around popular areas on their little motos, doing laps and wasting taxpayer money. People still hang out, and the scene remains lively around restaurants and cafes that set up in plazas—but still, the city has noticeably lost something. This isn't a black and white issue, because neighborhood residents have a right to sleep in peace; but still, my general feeling remains, "Bummer, dude."